The housing hunt comes to an end

I had the opportunity to write a “green living in St. Louis” guest post for Stacy at Every Little Thing this week.  Check it out here.  Now, on to the housing saga!

Last Wednesday, Matthew and I took some time off work in the afternoon to see another round of houses.  We only had a few on the schedule, so we tacked a recently listed apartment on to the itinerary as well.

Back in April, after over twelve months of apartment hunting, we decided to be a little crazy and throw the option of buying a house back into the mix.  We located a house and made a [very low] offer within a couple of weeks.  Despite offering $40k less than the asking price, we had decent reason to believe that they may accept the offer or counter with something closer to what we were willing to pay.

The house, which was part of an estate and had nothing owed on it, had been on the market for over 250 days this round, and vacant (and probably previously listed) for much longer than that.  While vacant, the pipes burst, and repairing that and the resulting water damage resulted in a $50k insurance claim.  You’d think this would be good reason for the estate’s trustee to consider any that came along.

We sure did, and we were wrong.  The guy didn’t even bother to counter (and apparently he was so “disgusted and depressed” by our offer that he pulled it off the market — at peak home-buying season, no less!).

Within a day or two of having our offer rejected, we spotted a realty sign on an intriguing property — a big, sunny fenced lot with two tiny houses on one edge.  I pass by it regularly and always wonder to which of the two houses the yard belongs.

A bit of research revealed that the property was a foreclosure and included the lot and both houses (each about 500 square feet — like I said, tiny).  We were immediately off and running with ideas of buying it on the cheap and doing a major renovation (which I alluded to here), combining the two tiny houses to make one nice space plus an awesome yard for gardening.  Matthew even drew up some designs.

And then we faced the reality of how much it would cost, both in dollars and in our energy making decisions and dealing with bumps along the way, and the fact that we would probably not be able to get anywhere near what we put into it back out of it if/when the time came to sell.  We decided, sadly, but probably wisely, to walk away.

A few weeks passed, with more houses, a couple more apartments, and nothing that really excited us.  One of the houses that we viewed didn’t have the double lot included as we’d hoped.  Another was somewhat interesting, but seemed overpriced, and while we were considering if and what to offer, it went under contract.

So on Wednesday afternoon, when we saw the apartment that had almost everything we were looking for, I was more than ready to be finished.

To be continued . . .